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  2. 2. 2 Their Protection is in Our Hands The State of Global Child Trafficking for Sexual Purposes This Global Report was compiled by a number of ECPAT International Secretariat staff (Alessia Altamura, Sendrine Constant, Patchareeboon Sakulpitakphon, Vimala Crispin, Manida Naebklang, Mark Capaldi and Carmen Madriñan). Special thanks are extended to Muireann O Briain, Theo Noten and Maria Eugenia Villareal for their technical review of this report. ECPAT International also wishes to gratefully acknowledge the feedback given by Christopher Davis and Myriam Galopin of the International Campaigns Team of The Body Shop International. 2 ECPAT International 328/1 Phayathai Road, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, 10400 THAILAND Tel: +662 215 3388 Fax: +662 215 8272 Email: Website: The Body Shop International PLC Watersmead, Littlehampton, West Sussex, UK Tel: +44 1903 731500 Website: © 2009 - The copyright of this Report is jointly owned by ECPAT International and The Body Shop International PLC. Not to be reproduced, copied or otherwise without the prior permission of ECPAT International and The Body Shop International PLC. ® Registered trademark of The Body Shop International PLC Acknowledgements
  4. 4. 4 The Body Shop is the original natural and ethical beauty company. We create products using the finest natural ingredients sourced directly from communities all over the world. We run our business based on a belief that we can be both profitable and a force for positive social and environmental change. Our campaigns are at the forefront of our way of doing business. Campaigning is not new to The Body Shop. For over twenty years, we have demonstrated our commitment to raising awareness and calling for change on many important social and environmental issues. Our campaign philosophy is based on the belief that change will only come when decision makers are informed and inspired to act in ways which deliver long lasting, permanent solutions. Through more than 2,500 stores in 64 countries, we can speak to millions of customers and make our collective voice heard where it will have the greatest impact. We are pleased to be working with our new global partner, ECPAT International to launch the Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign. Our original inspiration for the campaign came from The Body Shop Founder, the late Dame Anita Roddick, who in 2007, took great interest in the issue of human trafficking. Anita’s passion and determination to make a difference led us to investigate the issue and discover the extent to which children and young people were affected. Despite the alarming number of children exposed to unimaginable acts of cruelty in every region and country in the world, public awareness appeared extremely low. It was clear the international community should be doing much more to protect children and young people. For these reasons, we first approached ECPAT International to explore how we could use our respective organisational skills, knowledge and resources to work together to create change. Since our first meeting, we have spent a great deal of time listening and learning about the issue from the many experts within their global network and sharing our own experiences about our business and our campaigns. Our partnership led us to share a platform at the World Congress III against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Brazil in 2008, when we presented the campaign and announced our intention of creating this important global report for the first time. We created the report for three reasons. Firstly, to provide a comprehensive, up to date briefing on the situation facing children and young people so that key stakeholders will be able to access reliable, accurate information to inform their work. Secondly, awareness of the prevalence of child trafficking for sexual purposes remains low both in the media and among many consumers and decision makers. The report will, we hope, enable those unfamiliar with the issue to start engaging in the fight against this terrible violation of children’s rights. Thirdly, and finally, we wanted to proclaim that there is real cause for hope. By taking determined, systematic action we shall go a long way together towards stopping the Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People. As we launch the campaign and start speaking out to a global audience of millions, I believe the dedication and determination of all The Body Shop employees will capture the hearts and minds of our customers and ensure that their call for change is heard and our campaign objectives become a reality. Sophie Gasperment, Chief Executive Officer, The Body Shop International PREFACE FROM SOPHIE GASPERMENT, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE BODY SHOP INTERNATIONAL
  5. 5. 5 One of the most intolerable forms of violence is one perpetrated against our children. The criminals who are involved in trafficking children for sexual purposes inflict extreme violations of physical and emotional abuse which jeopardise the lives of millions of our children in all countries of the world. Our governments have the primary responsibility to safeguard and guarantee the basic rights of the child to protection from atrocities such as sexual exploitation. As such, the time has come for us to question when these commitments to stop child trafficking will be fully honoured by governments. As a global network working in over 75 countries “to encourage the world community to ensure that children everywhere enjoy their fundamental rights, free and secure from all forms of sexual exploitation”, ECPAT International believes that this vision will only be achieved when all of society demonstrates zero tolerance for such abuses. This is why we are extremely pleased that The Body Shop, a private sector enterprise that has always shown a strong commitment to the promotion of social causes and human rights, has joined hands with us to mobilise wide public support for the realisation of a common vision of a safe world for children. This unique global partnership between ECPAT International and The Body Shop demonstrates that even when a business is not directly affected by a problem such as child trafficking, it can use its position to help bring change in the destiny and lives of millions of children worldwide. The long history of The Body Shop campaigns on social justice along with ECPAT International’s demonstrated global experience of protecting children from commercial sexual exploitation, is thus combined in this campaign to extend the voice and reach of a call to action that can bring long lasting change to ‘Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People’. In 1996, ECPAT International was a key protagonist in bringing about the first World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (held in Stockholm, Sweden), which galvanised the world’s attention to the problem. Twelve years later as we co-organised the World Congress III in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in late 2008, it was clear that much more concerted and comprehensive action is urgently needed as the effectiveness of measures in addressing specifically the trafficking of children for sexual purposes still remains too limited. The campaign “Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People” will contribute to addressing this problem by drawing the attention of policy makers, public opinion, civil society organisations and other concerned stakeholders to the need for specialised responses to the complex phenomenon of child trafficking for sexual exploitation. While the initiative will contribute to raising awareness on this particular violation of children’s rights, it also aims to catalyse policy change and concrete action for greater protection of child victims and children at risk. The work at a global level will be reinforced and supported by the myriad of activities to be conducted at national and local levels. The ECPAT groups and The Body Shop markets will ensure that the interventions being carried out throughout the campaign period are tailored to the specific needs of those children experiencing harm or are at risk of child trafficking. The report “Their Protection Is in Our Hands: The State of Global Child Trafficking For Sexual Purposes” presents an overview of the issue worldwide. The report points to a seemingly increasing number of children being trafficked for sexual purposes, many within the borders of their own countries, and provides an outline of the range of interventions and measures that must be implemented to prevent and stop the problem. With this initial baseline report and throughout the campaign, ECPAT International and The Body Shop will be monitoring State actions to fight child sex trafficking and will expose, in a final report, the progress made by governments across the world - as well as the gaps remaining - in ensuring the child’s right to protection from sexual exploitation. The Body Shop and ECPAT International campaign is implemented with the firm belief that we can all make a difference in stopping trafficking of children for sexual purposes. By joining efforts and reaching out, we can create a united front so that these serious violations against children’s lives and dignity will no longer be tolerated and children can live free from sexual exploitation. Maureen Crombie, President, ECPAT International Preface from Maureen Crombie, President of ECPAT International
  6. 6. 6 An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide for sexual exploitation, including for prostitution or the production of sexually abusive images, as well as to be used as cheap labour.1 Among the total victims of the global trafficking of human beings (which is believed to generate billions of US dollars annually), children count for over 20%.2 To some, this may appear as a phenomenon mostly concerning less developed countries, but the fact is, even if many victims may originate from relatively underprivileged areas, these children are trafficked for sexual exploitation in or through virtually all countries in the world to meet the sexual desires of a large number of exploiters and abusers, and financial gain for traffickers. Children have been afforded special rights by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the mostly widely adopted international treaty to protect children in recognition that, due to their development stages, they need to receive particular attention and care and to be protected from very specific risks of abuse and exploitation. Unfortunately, despite commitments to addressing and preventing any form of violence against children and to upholding their rights that have been taken by almost all countries in the world, promises made have not yet been transformed into concrete and tangible actions and changes in the lives of children. This in turn results in the most horrific violations and heinous crimes, such as the recruitment and movement of a child from his or her place of origin to an environment where he or she is regularly subjected to sexual violence and exploitation. Ensuring that children are protected from criminal practices which demean and threaten their full and harmonious development is primarily a State’s duty, but it is also a shared responsibility of the entire society, at all levels, in order to secure a safe world for children everywhere. Living in a global environment of increased interconnectedness, it is also necessary for all actors of society to work together to prevent these horrific crimes against children and to combat trafficking of children for sexual purposes at various levels, from policy changes to actions that have a direct impact on the lives of vulnerable children and child victims. The Body Shop has long been known for its campaigning on a range of social issues that other companies have not addressed. The Body Shop’s passion for justice and social and human rights concerns has led it to campaign on issues where they believe they can make the biggest difference around the world. They now seek to launch a global campaign to shed light on this under-reported problem that affects the lives of millions of children and families every year. Through their campaigns, The Body Shop® stores reach out to their customers to inform them of the problem; they mobilise long-term changes for children by taking action, calling on decision- makers to guarantee the rights of all children to be protected from sexual exploitation and trafficking. The Body Shop chose ECPAT International as its global campaign partner. Through their campaigns, The Body Shop ® stores reach out to their customers to inform them of the problem; they mobilise long-term changes for children by taking action, calling on decision-makers to guarantee the rights of all children to be protected from sexual exploitation and trafficking. The campaign also responds to the urgent call for action that was an outcome of the World Congress III against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November 2008, where various representatives from governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, academics, child and adolescent activists, academics, and the private sector (including The Body Shop) agreed to take concerted action and adopted the Rio Declaration and Plan of Action outlining specific measures to be undertaken to enhance the protection of children and combat their sexual exploitation, including child sex trafficking. For this global campaign, The Body Shop has entered into a partnership with ECPAT International, the only international network specifically focusing on combating all forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children, including the trafficking of children for sexual purposes, and one of the main co-organisers of the World Congress III. ECPAT International and the 81 member groups that are part of its network in 75 countries seeks to encourage the world community to ensure that children everywhere enjoy their fundamental rights, free and secure from all forms of commercial sexual exploitation. As a global network, ECPAT International works in collaboration with various partners for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. 1. UNICEF, 2007. 2. UNODC, 2009. INTRODUCTION
  7. 7. 7 ECPAT International is supporting this global campaign to ‘Stop the Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People’ through ongoing international and national advocacy activities conducted over the course of the three-year campaign. These activities will include regular and ongoing monitoring of States’ actions to combat child sex trafficking, supported and facilitated through the development of a structured database. The database will assess progress towards States’ commitments to ensuring the protection of children from all forms of sexual exploitation. The campaign will also be supported through regular releases of position papers, briefing notes and news alerts to capture and maintain the attention and focus of decision-makers on the high priority issues concerning child sex trafficking. There will also be specific lobbying and advocacy activities in conjunction with particular international and regional events and platforms for raising concerns and highlighting the problem. The ECPAT International network will also be instrumental in proactively contributing to an effective implementation of the campaign ‘Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People’ in all the partner countries and supporting local advocacy activities and direct assistance to child victims of trafficking. This report “Their Protection is in Your Hands: The State of Global Child Trafficking for Sexual Purposes” constitutes the first step of this global advocacy strategy through the compilation of specific baseline information and assessment of progress achieved by States in ensuring the protection of children from sex trafficking. The report provides an overview of the trends and manifestations of child sex trafficking across regions and the various combinations of factors putting children at risk of falling prey to the traffickers. It also examines the types of interventions and good practices that are necessary to prevent, protect and assist children in the trafficking process and proposes global goals and targets for securing a safer world for children. For the first time, a targeted and specific database is being established that assesses and grades country goals and commitments to stopping child sex trafficking. Through the three years of the ‘Stop Child Sex Trafficking’ campaign, a country-by-country score card assessment system will track internationally agreed goals and targets. In this report, and in agreement with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, we use the term “children” to refer to anyone under the age of 18. In our campaign title and materials, this is also referred to as “children and young people.” By 2012, the results of the global monitoring of states’ actions to protect children from trafficking for sexual purposes will be documented in a final report. The Body Shop and ECPAT International will present the report to the UN Human Rights Council and in particular to the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs. INTRODUCTION
  8. 8. 8 This chapter details: Global figures and trends of child trafficking for sexual exploitation, highlighting the increasing incidents of children involved and the potential expansion of the sex trade as a result of the present worldwide economic crisis; The growing acknowledgement and detection of internal trafficking (within a country’s borders) and the main routes and changes in geographical patterns of international trafficking (across borders) in the different regions of the world; The wide spectrum of push and pull factors behind child sex trafficking and a profile of children trafficked into the sex market (with a focus on age and gender); The various ways used to recruit children and the range of actors involved in trafficking children, including organised crime; and Analysis of progress made in the last few years in terms of legislation and law enforcement and identification of the main challenges that still need to be addressed in this area. The trafficking in children for sexual purposes is a multifaceted violation of children’s rights and a challenge to address, largely due to the nature of the crime, its hidden form and to the numerous ramifications it involves. Numbers of the victims are mere estimates taken from the human trafficking numbers, the numbers of victims identified or traffickers prosecuted. These are likely to be only the tip of what is a much more complex global problem. While a lot of attention has focused on cross-border trafficking, it is now clearly being demonstrated that children are moved within a country to be sexually exploited and this is not yet adequately addressed by the concerned agencies. Children may also be trafficked for various reasons, including labour, begging, committing petty crimes or others and become victims of sexual exploitation as a result of these other exploitative practices. Unlike adults, children do not yet have the maturity to fully comprehend all acts and decisions they make and therefore may be easier targets for traffickers who can trick them with false promises, manipulate them and control them more easily. Traffickers have developed various ways to recruit children and those involved in trafficking children are numerous and come from various backgrounds, although it is often more likely that they are persons from the same ethnic or national background or in some cases even familiar to the child, such as a neighbour or extended family member. Families, criminal networks, clients of prostitution or even some private sector companies that are used to facilitate the transport and harbour of child victims, compose the wide range of intermediaries, traffickers and exploiters who contribute to the trafficking of children for sexual purposes worldwide. Responses to combat child sex trafficking must therefore ensure that the entire process of combined acts and intermediaries leading to a child being trafficked and sexually exploited must be adequately criminalised. However, in spite of significant progress achieved in recent years to improve legislation, many countries still fail to provide a comprehensive framework of protection for children, and criminal convictions of traffickers do not reflect the severity and the scale of the problem. 1.1. UNDERSTANDING CHILD TRAFFICKING FOR SEXUAL PURPOSES In the past decade, new international laws and protocols have provided a comprehensive framework to deal with child trafficking for sexual purposes. One of the most important international instruments regarding trafficking is the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Trafficking Protocol). This instrument, currently ratified by 124 States,3 provides a standard definition of child trafficking, identified as a process where a child (who is defined as a person under 18 years of age) is recruited, transported, transferred, harboured or received for the purpose of exploitation, even if the child consented to these actions. The irrelevance of the consent of the child constitutes an important difference with the trafficking of adults, the latter of which requires the use of coercive means or trickery in order to consider them as victims of trafficking. When children are involved, it is recognised that due to their age and developmental stages, they cannot be considered willing participants to their own trafficking. In the specific case of child sex trafficking, this means that every time children are recruited, transported, etc., for sexual exploitation, including prostitution, the production of pornography and forced marriage, they should be considered as victims and afforded the necessary protection. 3. As of 14 April 2009 – See 8 CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW Article 3 – Trafficking Protocol The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered ‘trafficking in persons’ even if this does not involve any of the means that define trafficking in adults.
  9. 9. 9 The Trafficking Protocol definition refers to cases when a child is trafficked either within a country (often referred to as internal or domestic trafficking) or across borders from one country to another.Whilst there may be different interpretations of trafficking, it is important to highlight that the notion of movement from one place to another is what distinguishes trafficking from other forms of sexual exploitation, such as some forms of prostitution, for instance.The movement has particular implications in terms of the type of needs and specific assistance required for child victims of trafficking who are exploited in an unfamiliar environment where they may have no reference point or person to turn to. 1.2. SCALE OF THE PROBLEM: GLOBAL NUMBERS AND TRENDS Despite the large number of studies on human and child trafficking that have been published over the last few years, providing global statistics and identifying worldwide trends, specifically on child trafficking for sexual exploitation, is difficult. In 2002, the International Labour Organisation presented a global figure, often cited, indicating that 1.2 million of the children involved in the worst forms of child labour, had been trafficked.4 While this estimate has been repeated by several agencies in various reports, it does not quantify the number of children trafficked for sexual exploitation, as it refers to children trafficked for the various worst forms of child labour, of which sexual exploitation is only one element. The available estimates and statistics refer mainly to human trafficking as a whole or collate women and children, without disaggregating data on the basis of age, gender or type of exploitation. The collection of specific data broken up by age and other relevant type of information is essential in order to guide policies and programmes and help governments focus their anti-trafficking efforts to better address the needs and rights of all the children trafficked. Data analysis and comparison is further complicated by the lack of a common understanding of the term “trafficking”. States have adopted different legislation with different definitions of trafficking in persons and have tended to limit data collection to cases of transnational trafficking, thus ignoring the magnitude of domestic trafficking, especially when children are involved. Confusion also exists between trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants among concerned agencies. In addition, the illegal and clandestine nature of the trafficking in children, and the fact that this is a very under-reported crime with few victims being identified and receiving assistance, makes it difficult to draw a reliable picture of child sex trafficking and its dimension.5 It is equally difficult to assess the global percentage of minors being trafficked for sex. According to numbers recently released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 79% of all trafficking worldwide is for sexual exploitation and the victims used for this purpose are predominantly women and girls. Similar concerns have been raised in the Philippines, Cambodia and other Asian countries.6 Among identified cases, the proportion of minors involved in all forms of human trafficking has increased between 2003 and 2007 from about 15% to nearly 22%.7 The rise in numbers of trafficked children identified is particularly alarming and poses new challenges to child protection agencies. If from one side this can be the result of positive factors, such as a more widespread adoption and implementation of specific legislation on child trafficking, or of a better capacity to identify child victims, on the other side this growing trend shows that traffickers continue to go unpunished for their crimes, and that demand for sex services and/or labour from children continues unabated. 4. ILO 2002 dotype=document & id-742 5. Dottridge, Mike. Child Trafficking for Sexual Purposes. ECPAT International. Bangkok. 2008. PP. 17-18. 6. UNODC, 2009, see: 7. Ibid., P.49 CHAPTER I SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW 79% of all global trafficking is for sexual exploitation UNODC, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 2009, available from: -report-on-trafficking-in-persons.html Trafficking vs. Smuggling Smuggling of migrants refers to the procurement, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other benefit, of the illegal entry of a person into a State […] While smuggling does not inherently involve exploitation, smuggled persons are often at risk of injury or death. Trafficking on the other hand, specifically targets the trafficked person as an object of exploitation and inherently involves a violation of human rights. Stefánsson, Gudmundur Ámi. The fight against Children Trafficking. Nov 2004.
  10. 10. 10 1.3. THE IMPACT OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS ON CHILD TRAFFICKING FOR SEXUAL PURPOSES AND ANTI-TRAFFICKING EFFORT: WILL THE SEX TRAFFICKING IN CHILDREN FURTHER INCREASE? With the current worldwide economic downturn, a number of anti-trafficking agencies and analysts have begun to look at the potential impact of the recession on the phenomenon of human trafficking. In Eastern Europe, for example, government officials and international organisations have warned of a possible increase of the problem as a result of the present financial crisis.8 Similar concerns have been raised in the Philippines, Cambodia and other Asian countries.9 8. J. Lowry. Eastern Europe: human trafficking “set to rise”. 12 March 2009. Accessed on 6 May 2009 from: 9. PHILIPPINES: Concerns grow over human trafficking as financial crisis deepens. 15 March 2009. Accessed on 6 May 2009 from: financial-crisis-is-causing-hinches-over-human-trafficking/; L. Cochrane. Warnings Financial Crisis Could Prompt Human Trafficking. 21st March 2009. Accessed on 6 May 2009 from: CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW Despite the fact that the extent of the crisis will vary according to geographical region, country and the type of policy responses that governments will put in place, some alarming negative effects are likely to occur across different contexts, affecting the well-being of children and increasing their exposure to trafficking for sexual exploitation: 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% o% 0 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Figure 1: Percentage of children among identified victims of trafficking UNODC, 2009, see: P.49
  11. 11. 11 Poverty, which is one of the main push factors behind child trafficking, will grow significantly. According to the World Bank, in 2009, 65 million people will fall below the $2-a-day poverty line and 53 million will be pushed below the level of absolute poverty, which is $1.25 a day.10 This widespread impoverishment is already being accompanied by a fall in world exports, a rise in unemployment and consumer prices, returns of unemployed migrants to countries of origin and a decline in remittances, with the consequent deterioration of living conditions of entire households, thus making them more vulnerable to trafficking. To protect the local labour market, some governments tend to adopt more restrictive immigration policies towards foreign workers which in turn results in more irregular migration and strengthening of the informal labour market.11 This situation further exacerbates vulnerability to unsafe migration and trafficking not only for adults but also for young people, who may decide to leave on their own to support their families. In a national economic crisis, budget spending for social services, child protection and child care often decreases. Educational attendance usually declines, while lower parental incomes increase the value of the money that children can bring to the household budget if they work. Feeling the pressure of the family and the need to assist bringing in income, children may be easily propelled into exploitative situations, including the sex trade. As shown by previous downturns in Asia, the percentage of children living or spending a long time on the streets often increases. Similarly, violence against women and children, including sexual abuse and exploitation, usually rises under conditions of economic stress. Depression and violence in the household may impact on the emotional, physical and developmental well-being of children, leaving them without the necessary parental nurture and care and therefore increasing the risk that they would run away from home and be trafficked.12 It has been noted that past economic crises have had more negative consequences on women and girls’ employment, “frequently leading to greater working hours and a move into riskier and lower status forms of employment, including commercial sex. [...] In some societies, resources to girls may be the first to be taken away”,13 which may lead, for example, to their dropping out of school. The commercial sex market is also being affected by the recession, with “clients” of prostitution having less disposable income for buying sex either at home or during trips abroad. This could mean for many parts of the world, that the exploiters will look for “cheaper” options, and considering that the children trafficked and involved in prostitution (who are already in extremely vulnerable situations) have few options and little negotiation power, they may be pushed into even more exploitative situations, in an attempt to maintain their level of income. Growing attention has also been given to the effects that the global financial crisis will have on development aid and anti-trafficking efforts. For this year, Britain’s Overseas Development Institute has foreseen a fall in official aid of about a fifth and other countries such as Italy and Ireland are following the same pattern.14 This reduction has much to do with the recession in donor countries but is also linked to the recent currency fluctuations. Existing pledges will be automatically decreased by exchange rate variations, especially in the case of European Union aid, which is affected by the strong devaluation of sterling and the Euro against the US dollar. The global financial crisis is also expected to have an impact on the work of many anti-trafficking agencies. With the cut in funding, projects addressing phenomenon of child sex trafficking are likely to be reduced in number and size, with the consequence that services to be provided to victims and beneficiaries of these programmes will decrease.15 In light of this critical situation affecting the lives of millions of children and families and the likelihood that traffickers will take advantage by pushing more children into the sex industry, ECPAT International believes it is of the utmost importance that appropriate and comprehensive measures to face the economic crisis and ensure protection of children from their increased vulnerability to sex trafficking are designed and implemented as a matter of urgency. This requires not only the contribution of many actors - from government agencies to international organisations and the private sector - but also a prioritisation of the well-being of children in national and international agendas. 10. The toxins trickle downward. From <<The Economist>> print edition, 12 March 2009. Accessed on 6 May 2009 from: story_id=13278585&CFID=46578828&CFTOKEN=85726850 11. IOM. The impact of financial crises on migration. IOM Policy Brief. January 2009. P. 2. Accessed on 6 May 2009 from: research/policy_documents/policy_brief_jan2009.pdf 12. C. Harper, N. Jones, A. McKay, J. Espey. Children in Times of economic crisis: past lessons, future policies. Background note. Overseas Development Institute. March 2009. P. 3. Accessed on 6 May 2009 from: 13. Ibidem, P. 6. 14. The toxins trickle downward. From <<The Economist>> print edition, 12 March 2009. Accessed on 6 May 2009 from: id=13278585&CFID=46578828&CFTOKEN=85726850 15. AFESIP Laos. Feeling the credit crunch. 26 November 2008. Accessed on 6 May 2009 from: CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW
  12. 12. 12 1.4. Regional flows, routes and changes in geographical patterns Children and young people trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation are usually moved from poorer areas to richer and more profitable places and regions. This relocation may occur across borders or within a country. As noted, trafficking takes place all over the world. In regional terms, child trafficking in and across borders appears to be more prevalent in West and Central Africa, the Mekong sub-region and in some countries of Central and South America.16 In the case of international trafficking, it is common to classify a country according to the function played in the trafficking process. In this sense, a distinction is made between: Sending or origin countries, where children are first recruited for trafficking; these may be a person’s home country, the country of residence or a country to which someone has migrated before being recruited by traffickers; Transit countries, through which the children might be moved and temporarily kept on the way to their final destination; and Receiving or destination countries, where trafficked children are brought for the purpose of exploitation. 16. UNODC. Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. 2009. P.49. CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW From Asia To North America Regional - Transnational Transnational - Transcontinental ECPAT green C: 100 M: 20 Y: 100 K: 50 Figure 2. Global Overview - Child Trafficking Routes
  13. 13. 13 Countries can at the same time be sending, transit and receiving and evolve over time and this needs to be recognised when developing anti-trafficking measures. Existing research in different countries and regions have demonstrated that flows in child trafficking for sexual purposes are constantly changing due to various interrelated factors such as an expansion of local sex markets and demand for sex (including child sex-tourism), reinforced controls and law enforcement efforts, as well as political circumstances. Preferred routes vary depending upon visa requirements, the length and porosity of borders, the links among various trafficking networks and changes in the transport and communication sectors. Many routes are used for trafficking children around the world. Some flows reflect nothing more than the geographical proximity of source and destination countries; others are more far-reaching. A global pattern substantiated by studies and some evidence suggests that most child trafficking for sexual exploitation takes place over short distances, either within regions and sub-regions or within a country. Most child trafficking for sexual exploitation takes place over short distances, either within regions and sub-regions or within a country. Trafficking children across continents requires the involvement of large-scale criminal networks across different countries and is generally more risky due to the stricter checks and travelling rules required when children and young people leave their own country. On the other hand, the existence of free movement agreements among countries in a region or sub-region, while creating possibilities for people to migrate legally and find job opportunities, may facilitate the transport of children within these areas, thus potentially increasing the risk for children to be trafficked. An overview of region and sub-regions of origin and destination and an analysis of the main geographical patterns of children trafficked for sexual purposes around the world confirm all these elements. CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW
  14. 14. 14 1.4.1. Regional flows, routes and changes in geographical patterns: Europe A major trend that was observed over the last years is that while child trafficking continues to go from Eastern to Western Europe, consistent flows within the European sub-regions also exist. From Latin America To North America From West Africa From Africa From Central Asia and RussiaFrom CIS From North Africa Regional - Transnational Transnational - Transcontinental ECPAT green C: 100 M: 20 Y: 100 K: 50 Almost all Western, Southern and Northern European countries are destinations for human trafficking, including child trafficking for sexual exploitation. Victims trafficked to these countries are reported to come from all major regions of the world (including East Asia, South America and West Africa, especially Nigeria) but mainly from Central and South Eastern Europe (Albania, Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria, among others). Cases of child victims trafficked to Western Europe from CIS countries such as Ukraine, Moldova and Russia have additionally been identified. Child trafficking for sexual exploitation also occurs regionally in Central and South Eastern European countries, with the main destinations being Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro, and Poland. Victims trafficked into this sub-region come from other South East European countries and Eastern Europe, as well as from the CIS. Finally, a large problem of child trafficking exists in Central Asian countries, with Central Asian countries being mainly a region of origin and Russia the main final destination.17 Several experts have stressed that the extension of the European Union to 27 members, with the inclusion of 12 new Southern and Central/Eastern European (CEE) states, has impacted on trafficking patterns. As was underlined already in 2004, “while the original fifteen member-states were countries of destination and transit and rarely of origin, many countries of CEE combine all three characteristics. With the borders of the EU moving further east, the European Union now constitutes more countries of origin, and trafficking has thus become a true problem.”18 While accession to the EU will likely result in better cooperation between Eastern and Western countries, increased opportunities to migrate legally and a process for new member states to align their legislation to the EU standards, it is generally expected that there will be a shift in the roles of the countries that have become the new EU border States, especially after they will join the Schengen area. Most probably countries such as Poland and Czech Republic or Slovakia will be predominately transit, and to a smaller degree, destination countries in the EU.19 17. UNODC, Trafficking in Persons Global Patterns, UNODC, 2006. pp. 94-95. 18. Ngalikpima Matiada, Sexual slavery : Challenge to Europe, Fondation Scelles, Paris, 2005. p.25. 19. Reigning in child trafficking in the new EU, 2 July 2004, accessed on 25 March 2009 from: CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW Figure 3: Regional Flows: Europe
  15. 15. 15 1.4.2.Regional flows,routes and changes in geographical patterns: Americas Efforts to map trafficking routes in the Americas have been promoted in a number of countries, including Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile and Colombia. While detailed information about the geographical patterns identified has not been released for security reasons, data from these mapping exercises and from studies on human and child trafficking confirm that most of child trafficking for sexual purposes takes place internally or within the whole Americas region.20 Instances where minors are trafficked across regions to long-distance destinations are rare. Examples include Brazilians and Colombians trafficked to Spain21 or to Portugal as an entry point to European countries, and Chileans and Colombians trafficked to Japan.22 Within the region, a major traditional trafficking route is from Latin American countries to the US. The US Government estimates that 14,500 to 17,500 persons are trafficked to the US each year and some experts estimate that one third of the victims trafficked to the US are children, but internal trafficking within the US is also a major challenge, with up to 300,000 American children said to also be at risk of sexual exploitation and trafficking within the country.23 Border crossings throughout Central America and Mexico are used to bring children illegally into the US and to Canada. It has been reported that many undocumented women and girls who have not been able to get to the United States end up being forced into prostitution in Mexico, throughout the country and along the borders, including along the Mexico-Guatemala border which is a key crossing point.24 The Caribbean region, namely the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Guyana and Suriname is an area of trafficking for sexual exploitation and other purposes. A 2005 report by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) found that the Caribbean’s relatively permeable borders, lax enforcement of entertainment visa and work permit rules, legalised prostitution, and burgeoning tourism industry have contributed to the problem of trafficking there.25 In Central America, a major child trafficking hub is Costa Rica, which receives girls from neighbouring countries (Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Panama) and serves additionally as a transit point for victims trafficked to the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Europe.26 It must be stressed that sub-regional trafficking throughout Central America is facilitated by the free transit agreement between El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, accompanied by weak border monitoring. Additionally, truck drivers traveling along the Pan-American Highway contribute to the demand for prostituted women and children.27 Child trafficking for sexual exploitation is a reality also in the Mercosur area,28 again partly aided by free trade agreements which have liberalised the movement of people across State members’ borders. A particularly hot spot for child trafficking is the tri-national border between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.29 Changes in flows have occurred in the Latin American region, mostly following the ups and downs of national economies and of the tourism industry.An example is Argentina where the peso’s devaluation of 2000, which made of the country a cheap tourism destination, resulted in an exponential increase of the offer of sex from vulnerable girls from Argentina and neighbouring countries in the South (Rio Negro and all the ski and winter sport area) and along the river in the East (that attracts a lot of men doing sport fishing).30 20. Clare M. Ribando, Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean, OAS, 2007. p. 5. 21. U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Person’s Report. 2008. 22. OIM, Estudio exploratorio sobre trata de personas con fines de exploitacion sexual en Argentina, Chile y Uruguay, 2007. p. 191. And ECPAT International, Global monitoring report on Colombia, 2006. 23. New York Juvenile Justice Coalition. Stop the Prosecution of Sexually Exploited Youth: FAQ’s and Facts 24. Clare M. Ribando, Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean, OAS, 2007. p. 6. 25. OIM, Exploratory assessment of trafficking in persons in the Caribbean region, 2005. pp.154-156. 26. U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Person’s Report. 2008. 27. Protection Project, Overview on Trafficking in Guatemala, available at: 28. Regional Trade including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay 29. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring report on Argentina, 2006. p. 12. 30. Information provided by Maricruz Tabbia, Regional Associate for Americas, ECPAT International. CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW Figure 4: Regional Flows: Americas From Asia From Africa From Asia From Europe Regional - Transnational Transnational - Transcontinental
  16. 16. 16 1.4.3. Regional flows, route and changes in geographical patterns: Africa and Middle East According to various researches, although the majority of women and children trafficked in Africa are moved internally or within a region, flows linking Africa to other regions also exist, with the main destinations being Europe (e.g. Nigerians trafficked for sexual exploitation to Western Europe),31 Middle East (e.g. Moroccan women and girls trafficked for sexual purposes to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria, and U.A.E)32 and South East Asia.33 On the other hand, some parts of Africa have also been reported to be a destination for women and children from other continents (e.g.Thai girls trafficked to South Africa for sexual exploitation).34 In Northern Africa, information on trafficking routes is scarce but it is possible that women and children from Sub-Saharan Africa are trafficked there in transit to Europe and the Middle East.35 Cases of sexually exploited Moroccan children identified in the Netherlands and France suggest that this country is also a source for trafficked children.36 Trafficking within Africa affects more than 90% of countries of the same sub-region (e.g. within Western African countries, within Central African countries, etc.) while flows between sub-regions (e.g. from Eastern to Southern African countries) are less common.37 Particularly affected are Western and Central African countries. As pointed out in a UNICEF research, many countries are both sending and receiving and such flows are complex.38 In a number of instances, neighbouring countries are engaged in child trafficking in both directions across a common border. For example, children are trafficked from Ghana to Togo and Ivory Coast or from Benin to Nigeria, and vice versa.39 It has been noted that that cross-border trafficking in children within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region has been on the increase recently, partly due to the high level of corruption among immigration officials and to an agreement between members of ECOWAS which facilitates the movement of people and goods across borders in this region. Although the agreement stipulates that nationals of the ECOWAS countries must produce a valid travel certificate or an ID when crossing the borders, a relatively high level of corruption is reported and leads to many officials turning a blind eye when people cross the borders with children who are not in possession of such documents.40 A major route of child trafficking for sexual exploitation goes from Eastern and Southern African countries (including Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia among others) to South Africa.41 Very limited data is available about trafficking flows in the Middle East, especially with regard to children exploited for sexual purposes. A review of the trafficking situation in Middle Eastern countries based on the latest US Department of State Report on Trafficking in Persons seem to suggest that this is mainly a region of transit and destination, with trafficking for sexual exploitation involving primarily women (e.g. from CIS countries and Southeast Asia) rather than children. However, cases of child trafficking for sexual purposes have also been identified. In Syria, for example, a significant number of women and children from the large and expanding Iraqi refugee community are reportedly forced into commercial sexual exploitation by Iraqi gangs or, in some cases, their families.42 Similarly, women and children migrating to Jordan from Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka to work as domestic maids have been forced to provide sexual services to their employers.43 31. U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Person’s Report. 2008. 32. U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Person’s Report. 2008. 33. UNICEF Innocenti Research Institute, Trafficking in human beings, especially women and children, in Africa, 2005, second edition, p. 15. 34. Ibidem. 35. Ibdiem, p.11. 36. Van den Borne, Anke and Kloosterboer, Karin, Investigating Exploitation: Research into Trafficking inChildren in the Netherlands, ECPAT Netherlands in cooperation with DCI NL, UNICEF NL and Plan NL, Amsterdam, 2005. And Sendrine Fabie, Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes: Update Country Report—France, Joint East–West Project on Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes in Europe, September 2003. 37. Ibidem, p. 14. 38. UNICEF Innocenti Research Institute, Trafficking in human beings, especially women and children, in Africa, 2005, second edition, p. 15. 39. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring Reports on Ghana, Benin, Togo, Nigeria and Ghana, 2007. 40. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring Reports on Benin and Nigeria, 2006. 41. For a more detailed description of child trafficking flows for sexual exploitation from these countries to South Africa see the related Global Monitoring Reports on CSEC produced by ECPAT International and available at: 42. U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Person’s Report. 2008. 43. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring Report on Jordan, 2007. CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW To Europe To North America North America to Middle East From South Asia From Asia Regional - Transnational Transnational - Transcontinental ECPAT green C: 100 M: 20 Y: 100 K: 50 Figure 5: Regional Flows: Africa and Middle East
  17. 17. 17 1.4.4. Regional flows, routes and changes in geographical patterns: Asia and Pacific The UNODC report published in 2009 has found that victims from Asia are trafficked to the widest range of destinations, including far away locations in other continents. Although trafficking across regions concerns mainly women and men, cases of Asian minors identified in the US (e.g. Thai girls) or in the Middle East show that child trafficking routes towards long distance destinations also exist. Very often, sexual exploitation is associated with other forms of exploitation rather than being the primary purpose of child trafficking. It has been reported, for instance, that each year children as young as two years old are trafficked from Bangladesh and Pakistan to be used as camel jockeys in the Persian Gulf States, where they are often subjected to sexual exploitation.44 Another well known international route across regions goes from Asia to countries in Oceania, such as Australia45 (e.g. Thai children trafficked there through Malaysia).46 An example worth mentioning is Papua New Guinea, which has been identified as a country of destination for women and children from Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation to brothels in the capital and at isolated logging and mining camps.47 To China To Japan To North America To Australia To Africa To Middle East To Middle East To Europe Regional - Transnational Transnational - Transcontinental Figure 6. Regional Flow: Asia and Pacific Intra-regional child trafficking flows for sexual exploitation have been identified both between and within Asian sub-regions. A consistent pattern concerns women and children trafficked from Southeast Asia to China for forced marriage or sexual exploitation (see, especially, the case of Burmese and Vietnamese girls)48 or to Japan (e.g. Thai children trafficked there through Hong Kong). In Southeast Asia, one of the main hubs for trafficking is the Greater Mekong Sub-region, with Thailand being the main destination. Boys and girls trafficked to Thai cities for sexual exploitation come from Cambodia, China (Yunnan Province), Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam, as well as from ethnic minority groups living in northern Thailand. Trafficking of Vietnamese boys and girls for sexual exploitation to Cambodia has also emerged as a huge problem.49 Alarming flows of child trafficking for sexual exploitation exist in South Asia, with India being the main destination from neighbouring countries. It is estimated that between 5,000 and 7,000 Nepalese girls are trafficked into India for sexual exploitation every year. The open borders between the neighbouring countries make it easy for traffickers to infiltrate the entry points (Raxaoul, Bairgania, Motihari, Jogbani, Madhuvani) along the Bihar State of India. Similarly, it is estimated that 200,000 Bangladeshi children have been trafficked for sexual exploitation through the borders of West Bengal and Assam States. India is also used as a transit country for children trafficked from Nepal and Bangladesh to Pakistan. 44. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring Report on Bangladesh, 2006. 45. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring Report on Australia, 2006. At P. 13 it is stressed that: “current evidence suggests that most of the victims of trafficking for sexual purposes are women although the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault has noted that a number of children are also trafficked into sexual exploitation for debt-bonded prostitution.” 46. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring Report on Thailand, 2006. P. 12. 47. U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Person’s Report. 2008. 48. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT), Driven Away: Trafficking of Kachin Women on the China-Burma Border, (2005). And Oxfam Quebec, Anti-Human Trafficking Program in Vietnam, Trafficking in Women and Children from Vietnam to China: Legal Framework and Government Responses, 2005. 49. Chab Dai Coalition, At What Price, Honour?: Research into domestic trafficking of Vietnamese (girl) children for sexual exploitation, from slums in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 2006. CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW
  18. 18. 18 1.5. Domestic vs. cross-border trafficking For several years, anti-trafficking measures and agencies have put a big emphasis on transnational trafficking, thus focusing on cases in which a child was trafficked from one country to another. This was not only due to a restricted interpretation of the Trafficking Protocol, which supplements the main Convention that targets transnational organised crime, but also to a tendency common among States to consider trafficking as an illegal migration issue connected to border control and to violation of immigration laws. In the last few years, there has been a realisation in various regions that a significant proportion of trafficking cases concern children or adults trafficked within the borders of their own country, i.e., internal or domestic trafficking. What is internal trafficking and who are the victims? Internal trafficking occurs within a country’s own borders and usually involves movement from rural to urban areas or from one city to another. Finding oneself in unfamiliar surroundings increases the vulnerability to trafficking, especially for children. The victims of internal trafficking may include nationals of the country in which they are being trafficked, migrants with or without legal status who reside in the country, refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons. At the global level, the growing attention devoted to domestic trafficking and the increased perception that sex trafficking also affects children living in their own countries is attested by a number of studies on the issue. In research on trafficking patterns published by UNODC in 2006, it was found that only four of the 113 countries examined in the study clearly identified or generated information on domestic trafficking. The widespread under-reporting of domestic trafficking was linked to the application of other (i.e., non-human trafficking) laws to this crime resulting in a failure to categorise people involved in the internal trade as victims of trafficking.50 For example, in cases where a child was moved from one place to another to be exploited in prostitution, countries may have tended to apply laws against child prostitution rather than apply the legal provisions against human trafficking. UNODC’s 2009 report on human trafficking demonstrates that the reporting of internal trafficking has increased significantly compared to 2006. “The data collected shows that domestic trafficking was detected in at least 32 countries among those where information was available, and in some countries, it is a major issue. [...] Interestingly, evidence indicates that domestic trafficking does not occur only in large transitional countries, such as India and Brazil, where the dimensions of the country can explain the existence of trafficking internally between poor and rich areas. Domestic trafficking also exists in relatively small and wealthy countries, such as those in Europe.”51 A review of trafficking flows based on the latest US State Department report on trafficking in persons confirms this trend and shows that domestic trafficking has been identified as a problem in most of the countries analysed (more than 110 out of 170 countries). In several states in Central and South America and in Africa, internal trafficking appears to be more prevalent than cross-border trafficking, especially when children are involved (see table below). Anecdotal evidence also suggests that in regions such as Latin America, internal trafficking is frequently a first step to cross-border trafficking. 50. UNODC. Trafficking in Persons: global patterns. 2006. P. 46. 51. UNODC. Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. 2009. P. 57. CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW
  19. 19. 19 Region/Sub-region Countries where internal trafficking is a recognised problem (total) Countries where internal trafficking is more prevalent than cross-border trafficking Europe 19 countries – CIS 5 countries – North America 2 countries – Central and South America 15 countries Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Jamaica, Panama, Peru and Uruguay East Asia and Pacific 13 countries China South Asia 5 countries India Africa 23 countries Benin, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo Middle East 6 countries – In line with these findings, research conducted in Europe has shown that internal trafficking occurs in about half of the countries in the region. However, while information on this phenomenon in South Eastern Europe and CIS is available from studies and reports on trafficking, in the European Union and other Western countries the issue of internal trafficking has not yet received enough attention. Furthermore, the debate and research efforts have revolved around trafficking of nationals within their own country; there is a knowledge gap with regard to the internal trafficking of non-national children, separated or asylum seekers, for instance.53 The apparent increase in the number of victims of internal trafficking is likely to be the result of various interrelated factors. It may be partly due to an improved capacity of law enforcers to trace and identify victims of this form of trafficking and to the implementation of legislation addressing this crime. However, it may also be due to the reduced risks associated with domestic trafficking as opposed to international trafficking: in the absence of a border crossing, the child may not need to have travel identification documents and will probably speak the language. It must also be stressed that with States focused on enhancing judicial and police cooperation and law enforcement against transnational trafficking, traffickers may have turned to internal sex trafficking as a profitable and less risky criminal business. Internal trafficking may involve movement from rural to urban areas or from one city to another. In many cases, children are moved from poor and unprivileged places to tourist locations or to places where there is a concentration of male workers. In Guyana, for example, Amerindian girls are trafficked to brothels near the mining camps and to coastal areas for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. Similarly, in Madagascar, some children are recruited in the capital Antananarivo under false pretenses of employment as waitresses and maids before being exploited in the commercial sex trade in coastal cities such as Tamatave, Nosy Be, and Diego Suarez.54 Such patterns have been identified in countries in all regions of the world. Internal travel will generally be by train, truck, taxi, bus or private car; occasionally people are also taken on foot. It is important to note that as with cases of cross-border trafficking, sometimes travel expenses can also be incurred and paid for by traffickers for the internal movement of the child, 55 which is then used as debt bondage. Factors making children vulnerable to domestic sex trafficking may be similar to those fueling international trafficking, but may also be more context specific. For example, reports of internal human trafficking in Western European countries, including trafficking in children for sexual purposes, have led to a “reassessment of the traditional understanding of the root causes of trafficking.” Even though socio- economic factors such as poverty are still identified as significant driving forces, these studies have shown that personal and family backgrounds also play a determinant role. In the Netherlands, for instance, research suggests that personal factors, such as low self- esteem or family dysfunction, heighten a child’s vulnerability to internal trafficking, 56 making girls particularly exposed to the “lover boy” phenomenon (see below and section C). 52. U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Person’s Report. 2008. 53. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Child trafficking in Europe. A broad vision to put children first, 2008. P. 9. 54. U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons report 2008. 55. IOM. Resource book for law enforcement officers on good practices in combating child trafficking. 2007. P.41. 56. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Child trafficking in Europe. A broad vision to put children first, 2008. P. 9. CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW Figure 7. Domestic/Internal Trafficking52
  20. 20. 20 Domestic Trafficking Around the World Domestic trafficking alarming in India In India, the majority of trafficking in underage girls for sexual exploitation happens within the country. Children are trafficked to and from states such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal. For instance, among the 23 districts of the State of Andra Pradesh, 16 are identified as sending districts. Similarly, in the State of Bihar, 24 out of 37 districts are highly affected by trafficking in women and children. Rajasthan is also a major source state, where 27 out of 32 districts are found to be affected.57 Internal trafficking prevailing in Benin The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that 90 per cent of all victims are trafficked within Benin, with girls trafficked primarily for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, while boys are mainly trafficked for forced labour as plantation workers, street hawkers and construction workers.58 International and domestic trafficking routes in Brazil An investigation conducted in 2002 by CECRIA, a NGO member of ECPAT Brazil, identified 110 routes of internal trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation and 131 routes of international trafficking. On the domestic routes there was a prevalence of minors among the victims while cross border routes were used mainly for the trafficking of women. Most of the trafficking routes are concentrated in the North and North east regions which are the poorest in the country.59 Internal sex trade in the Netherlands Research published in 2005 by ECPAT Netherlands found that most of the 230 child trafficking victims examined in the study had been trafficked within the country’s own borders (in the South East Brabant region, for example, almost 95% of the trafficking cases were internal). More specifically, almost 30% of the minors trafficked for sexual exploitation were from the Netherlands and another 30% originated from Morocco,Turkey, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.The balance mostly came from countries in Africa and Eastern Europe.While a number of methods are used by traffickers to entrap girls, the phenomenon of “lover boys” whereby men seduce young girls by posing as boyfriends and then force them into providing sexual services is particularly common.60 1.6. Where does it start? Mapping Factors making children vulnerable The knowledge base on risk factors associated with child trafficking for sexual purposes has greatly improved in the last decade. However, if from one side studies and reports have contributed to identify particular vulnerabilities, on the other they have pointed to a great diversity in the profile of child victims which makes it impossible to generalise.Any effort to understand and reduce risk factors should therefore be based on specific assessments at country and local level, taking into account the complexity of root causes involved and the combination of multiple socio-cultural, economical, interpersonal and individual circumstances contributing to child trafficking for sexual exploitation. The reasons contributing to children and young people falling victims of traffickers are often similar to those of adults. However, children are more susceptible to the pressures of their situation and can be more easily persuaded and tricked. This is also why special protection must be afforded to children. Graph extrapolated from: Zosa De Sas Kropiwnicki, Children speak out. Trafficking Risk and Resilience in Southeast Europe, Save the Children, 2007. 57. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring Report on India, p.12. 58. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring Report - Benin, p.12. 59. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring Report - Brazil, p.11. 60. Van den Borne, Anke and Kloosterboer, Karin. Investigating Exploitation: Research into Trafficking in Children in the Netherlands. ECPAT Netherlands in cooperation with DCI NL, UNICEF NL and Plan NL. Amsterdam. 2005. CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW Macro-factors (political, socio-cultural, economic factors) Interpersonal context (inc. family factors) Individual characteristics Figure 8. Risk Factors for Child Trafficking
  21. 21. 21 1.6.1. Socio-economic factors A great pressure for many children and young people is to help their families by contributing financially to domestic incomes or by being more financially independent. This often happens in contexts of low levels of education and school abandonment, poverty, and lack of employment opportunities for the adult members of the household or for the young person. 1.6.2. Family The family environment can also put a child at risk through domestic abuse and violence or through substance and alcohol addictions which may reduce the parents’ ability to provide adequate care to their children. On the other hand, the lack of family protection and parental care may leave children without an essential safety net and under these circumstances, children may be placed in institutions with low care standards or may be pushed to live and work on the streets where they can be easily deceived by traffickers’ promises of employment and gifts. 1.6.3. Reduced awareness of trafficking risks and lack of adequate care These socio-economic and interpersonal driving forces may also induce children to leave on their own and migrate to another country or city. Idealised perceptions of a better lifestyle abroad and success stories from people who have been abroad further encourage risk-taking among youth. Combined with a lack of information on legal procedures for travelling to a foreign country and a limited awareness of the dangers connected with migration, this situation may enhance the risk for young people to be lured into sexual exploitation during the move or once at the destination. In this sense, particularly vulnerable groups include asylum seekers and separated children (i.e. minors who are outside their country of origin and separated from both parents, or from their legal/customary primary caregiver).As various examples in Western Europe demonstrate, migrant children who are without parental care may be placed within residential structures or in foster families which do not necessarily provide adequate protection and care, thus increasing their exposure to trafficking. Children going missing from care in Ireland vulnerable to trafficking As reported in a study published by IOM in 2005,“the Dublin unit of the Health Service Executive (HSE) for separated children seeking asylum estimate that approximately 20 children in their care in 2005 were trafficked, the majority of these for the purpose of sexual exploitation.” 61 This trend has been confirmed by recent reports appearing in the Irish media.According to a senior Garda source, human trafficking gangs are increasingly organising the trafficking of separated children62 who are taken into the care of the HSE on arrival in Ireland, from which they often go missing due to a lack of proper supervision.63 Child protection agencies believe that most of the 441 separated migrant children disappeared from care structures since 2000 have ended up in the sex trade in Ireland and abroad.64 1.6.4. HIV epidemic In several countries in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, children’s vulnerability to trafficking may increase as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When caregivers become sick or die, older children may be removed from school and forced to supplement the family’s income while also being exposed to stigmatisation, rejection, or marginalisation by their communities. On the other hand, in contexts where HIV/AIDS is particularly widespread, men who pay for sexual intercourse may be induced to prefer a child under the false belief that children are free from the disease. 1.6.5. Lack of birth registration Lack of birth registration may further exacerbate the situation. Children who have no official recognition of their names and nationality and no official registration of birth are more difficult to trace in disappearance cases, making it easier for traffickers to “hide” them. When trafficked between countries, lack of legal identity also impacts on the repatriation process of the child as it complicates country of origin identification and family tracing. 61. Jyothi Kanics. Child trafficking and Ireland. <<Studies. An Irish Quarterly Review>>. Issue 388, vol. 97, Winter 2008. 62. Separated children are children under 18 years of age who are outside their country of origin and separated from both parents, or their legal/customary primary caregiver. 63. “One fifth of foreign children in care go missing”. Irish 64. ECRAN Weekly Update. 15 September 2008. 65. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring report on Kenya, 2007. p. 15. CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW Myth on HIV/AIDS contributing to trafficking in Kenya In Kenya, a number of investigations have revealed that there is a category of regional tourists and locals who travel to the country looking solely for virgins, encouraged by the myth that sex with a virgin may cure terminal conditions such as HIV/AIDS.65 This practice has favoured the trafficking of young girls to major child sex tourist destinations.
  22. 22. 22 1.6.6. Armed conflicts and natural disasters Protracted armed conflicts often determine a rise in demand of sexual services from troops, peacekeepers and humanitarian workers, and traffickers that can take advantage of this by luring and selling children into prostitution. Local wars also force populations to flee across or within national borders. In this context, children may be particularly exposed to violence, sexual exploitation and harmful working conditions, and may also be induced to trade sex for survival and protection. Similarly, natural disasters such as earthquakes, flood or famine crises may disrupt entire families and communities, leaving children without necessary protection. Armed conflict in Colombia resulting in child trafficking for sexual exploitation A study conducted in 2005 by Fundación Renacer - ECPAT Colombia, Fundación Restrepo Barco, and Plan has revealed that the civil conflict which has affected Colombia for more than four decades has impacted in several ways on the condition of children and their risk to being trafficked for sexual exploitation. Connections between traffickers and members of the illegal armed groups active in the country aimed at moving children from cities to locations where such groups are settled have been identified. Once in the hands of guerrilla armies, children are not only sexually abused and exploited but are also forced to use drugs. Peacekeepers fueling the child sex trade in Kosovo Until at least 2003, UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) police and peacekeepers were alleged to have been involved in the trafficking of women and girls for sexual purposes and in sexually victimising girls in Kosovo. In a documentary shown on German television in December 2002, a member of the German Kosovo Force (KFOR), who had been stationed in Macedonia, provided credible evidence that members of German KFOR were using the services of trafficked women and children.Although both local and foreign men take advantage of prostitution in Kosovo, it is clear that prostitution grew initially out of post-conflict militarisation and the presence of a highly-paid international military and civilian community. It seems, therefore, that the UN administration in Kosovo has facilitated exploitation of trafficked women. Furthermore, there are concerns that UNMIK failed to prosecute international personnel suspected of involvement in trafficking, or of knowingly exploiting trafficked women and girls, which has created a climate of impunity in relation to abuse of and violations against trafficked victims.66 Civil war in Uganda raises levels of children’s vulnerability A distinctive feature of commercial sexual exploitation of children in Uganda is the violations perpetrated by rebel forces in the north of the country and in camps for internally displaced persons (IDP). Since 1986, a civil war between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Government forces has raged in northern Uganda.The LRA has conducted several attacks on civilians and abducted children to be used for sexual servitude as well as for military purposes.Younger girls are particularly favoured as it is believed that they are less likely to be HIV-positive. More than 30,000 children are thought to have been abducted by the LRA in the 20-year period of the civil war. Because of the frequency and brutality of the attacks and abductions by the rebel forces, tens of thousands of children would leave their villages (especially in the districts of Gulu, Kitgum and Pader) in a process called ‘night commuting’, to spend the night in larger and supposedly safer towns.These children would leave their homes and walk to urban centres every evening without parental guidance, and many individuals took advantage of their difficult situation to lure them into trading sex for money, food or other necessities.A study conducted in the Gulu region found that 41 per cent of night commuting children knew someone who had been offered money for sex. Fortunately, the situation has improved dramatically as a result of the ongoing peace process, which began in October 2006 and night commuting by children has now come to a halt.67 Nevertheless, protection of the population in the conflict areas is still required, as past violations usually occurred due to laxity in security. Trading sex with refugee children in Congo, Guinea and other West African countries Reports from Guinea and Congo have shown that refugee women and children were coerced into sex in exchange for food and shelter for themselves and their families. Sexual exploitation was found to be endemic in refugee camps in West Africa in 2002, with the exploiters mainly being men in positions of power, money, and influence. These included camp leaders, casual labourers, teachers, security forces, traders, humanitarian workers and peacekeepers who were found to be trading sex with refugee children between 13-18 years old for desperately needed supplies such as biscuits, soap, medicines and tarpaulin or meagre sums of money.68 Local wars also force populations to flee across or within national borders. In this context, children may be particularly exposed to violence, sexual exploitation and harmful working conditions, and may also be induced to trade sex for survival and protection. 66. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring report on Serbia, 2006. pp. 11-12. 67. ECPAT International, Global Monitoring report on Uganda, 2007. pp. 13-14. 68. S. Delaney. Protecting children from sexual exploitation and sexual violence in emergency situations. ECPAT International. 2006. PP. 35-36. CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW
  23. 23. 23 1.6.7. Natural Disasters Similarly, natural disasters such as earthquake, floods or famine crises may disrupt entire families and communities, leaving children without the necessary protection. Floods in India push children into trafficking A media article recently released has reported that hundreds of children left vulnerable after devastating floods in eastern India are being trafficked to work as bricklayers, domestic servants and even sold as brides. Monsoon rains and burst dams in August 2008 unleashed major flooding in South Asia, killing about 1,500 people, mostly in India but also in Nepal.Aid workers found that in the aftermath of the disaster - Bihar’s worst floods in recent years - there has been a spurt in human trafficking from the region. Children, who are mostly between seven and 14 years old, are brought to India’s urban centres. Most end up as domestic workers or bricklayers or are employed in roadside restaurants or small textile units embroidering expensive fabrics. Many girls are sent to work in brothels or sold as brides in regions such as Punjab and Haryana where sex ratios are skewed in favour of men due to the practice of female feticide and infanticide. Experts highlighted that post-disaster human trafficking has become common in the region as increasing man-made conflicts and natural disasters leave the already poor even more vulnerable.The breakdown of social institutions in devastated areas creates difficulties in securing food and humanitarian supplies, leaving women and children vulnerable to kidnapping, sexual exploitation and trafficking.69 Increased child trafficking and sexual exploitation as a result of drought in Swaziland In 2007, Swaziland experienced an acute drought which resulted in higher levels of child abuse, sexual exploitation and trafficking. To face the food and water shortages affecting nearly 40 percent of Swaziland’s one million people, poor households were reported to have engaged in negative coping strategies, including transactional sex, leading to a higher incidence of sexually transmitted infections and HIV. Children were particularly vulnerable to exploitation with many of them pulled out from school and sold into the sex trade in exchange for food.70 1.6.8. Gender and minority discrimination The influence of gender and minority discrimination, as well as of traditional practices and cultural values in determining a child’s vulnerability to trafficking for sexual exploitation has been highlighted in various studies. Children from marginalised groups, such as those from minority ethnic, tribal and religious communities, are often left unprotected by weak legal and policy frameworks and may suffer different types of discrimination, including limited or no access to education and employment. In some communities, children, especially girls, are objectified and seen as commodities which can be exchanged to improve family living conditions (the custom of early marriage is only one example of how in some contexts, gender discrimination combined with a traditional practice may expose a girl to trafficking). In other cases, children are expected to grow up and start working early to support the household. ‘Vidomegon’, a traditional practice being used by child traffickers in Benin The term ‘vidomegon’ refers to the practice of sending children away from home to live with wealthier families that could provide them a better start in life. As parents increasingly see their children as a potential source of income, such a practice is now being used by trafficking networks to obtain children for exploitation, including commercial sex. While in the past this was a traditional manifestation of solidarity among members of the same family, these days it consists of the placement of a child, directly or through an intermediate, with a third party that may or may not be a family member, and may even receive some kind of remuneration for taking the child. The issue is currently being debated in Benin, as ‘vidomegon’ and has been increasingly used by traffickers, who go to villages and make false promises to parents, that their children, most between the ages of five and fifteen, can be placed with masons, carpenters, welders and others to learn their skills, as well as placed with families or in apprenticeships in larger cities and will be able to send them money. However, these children are severely exploited in such work settings and suffer all types of physical, psychological and sexual abuse, whose after-effects continue throughout their lives. The practice has thus become a new form of child slavery and sale of children. . An additional circumstance that may increase children’s vulnerability to trafficking for sexual exploitation is their actual involvement in prostitution when they are recruited. Young people who are already exploited in prostitution in their own country or close to home where there has been no movement (e.g. children working on the streets) are easy targets for traffickers, especially when their level of awareness of trafficking is very low. 69. N. Bhalla. Traffickers prey on disaster-hit children in India. Reuters AlertNet. 23 March 2009. Accessed on 7 May 2009 from: 70. SWAZILAND: Hard times raise levels of abuse. 1 August 2007. Accessed on 7 May 2009 from: CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW
  24. 24. 24 1.6.9. Demand While all these factors play an important role in pushing children into trafficking for sexual purposes, the existence of trafficking cannot be explained without analysing and understanding the problem of demand at destination. Underlying attitudes about male entitlement can foster a perverse notion that it is acceptable for men to sexually exploit children, either in their own countries or abroad (as in the phenomenon of child-sex tourism). Such attitudes are further reinforced when buying sex from a child appears to be socially acceptable and does not lead to important social stigma and serious legal punishment. Contrary to popular misconceptions, the demand for sex with children does not only come from paedophiles but is actually mostly generated by people who pay for sex. Persons (nationals and foreigners) who patronise the commercial sex market may end up sexually exploiting a child. There is therefore no specific profile of the child sex exploiters as they can be young, married, and from different socio-economic backgrounds and professions. Unfortunately, the issue of demand remains largely unaddressed by governments and requires the implementation of urgent measures. 1.7. Profiling children trafficked for sexual exploitation: main demographic characteristics There is not one typical “child” victim of trafficking for sexual exploitation but rather a range of scenarios in which children are more vulnerable to this crime. To help identify children who are more at risk and exposed to being trafficked, research carried out in different countries and regions has focused on understanding distinguishing elements of trafficked children who have already been victimised. Apart from contributing to identifying the main push and pull factors leading to child trafficking and sexual exploitation, these studies have provided information on the demographic characteristics of child trafficked victims, such as age and sex. 71. ECPAT Europe Law Enforcement Group, Joint East West research on trafficking In children for sexual purposes in Europe, 2004. 72. M. Dottridge, Young People’s Voices on Child Trafficking: Experiences from South Eastern Europe, UNICEF Innocenti working paper, 2008. 73. IOM, Exploratory assessment of trafficking in persons in the Caribbean region, 2005. 74. OIM, La trata de personas en el Paraguay. Diagnóstico exploratorio sobre el tráfico y/o la trata de personas con fiens de explotación sexual, 2005. 75. IOM, Seduction, sale and Slavery: Trafficking in Women and Children for Sexual Exploitation in Southern Africa, 2003. 76. IOM, Seduction, sale and Slavery: Trafficking in Women and Children for Sexual Exploitation in Southern Africa, 2003. 77. Lahiri Agniva, Kar Sarika, Dancing boys: traditional prostitution of young males in India. Situational Assessment report on adolescents and young boys vulnerable to forced migration, trafficking and sexual exploitation in India, 2007. 78. Save the Children Denmark. Trafficking in children in Denmark. 2003. The report can be accessed at: CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW In Southern and Eastern Europe and the CIS, research has shown that in countries such as Albania, Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, Russia and Ukraine, the large majority of children trafficked were teenage girls, mostly between 15 and 17 years old. Some boys from Romania or Russia were also identified.71 The need to contribute to the family income, domestic violence and abuse, parental alcohol addiction, the lack of information on trafficking and risks in migrating and working abroad,72 but also living in children’s homes, being involved in prositution or being unaccompanied were all considered as factors of the high vulnerability of children. In the Caribbean region, including in the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Guyana and Suriname, girl victims of trafficking between 12 and 17 years old face a lack of educational or job opportunities, the low social and cultural status of women, sexual abuse within the family, a lack of parental care consequent to parents’ migration, are all elements reported to expose children to high risks of trafficking.73 In Paraguay, teenage girls but also boys, in particular transsexuals, have mentioned social exclusion or involvement in prostitution as the only survival strategy in the country of origin, especially for transsexuals, being highly contributing factors to children’s vulnerability to trafficking.74 In Lesotho, living on the streets, being orphaned by AIDS or victim of sexual and physical abuse, and dropping out of school exposes children to the risk of trafficking.75 In Mozambique where girls as young as 12 are victims of trafficking for sexual purposes, the early sexualisation of girls in a matriarchal culture or the practice of giving children to wealthier families in exchange for educational and other support constitute push factors.76 In India, some teenage boys face social stigma and discrimination for being ‘gender variant’ or with feminine demeanor or traits. The demand from both women and men, or specific traditions facilitating child sexual exploitation, are additional factors exposing them to trafficking risks.77 In Denmark, teenagers trafficked for sexual exploitation are mainly girls (but cases of boys also exist) aged between 15 and 17 years who originate from a number of countries, including Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic. Factors common to most of the children trafficked to Denmark are an upbringing in relative poverty (often due to parental unemployment) and a family structure in total or partial disintegration, typically on account of alcohol or drug abuse by one or both parents. Children in children’s homes and street children, some of whom are already involved in prostitution, are also at risk of being trafficked.78
  25. 25. 25 1.7.1. Age Existing knowledge shows that children can become victims of a trafficking operation at any time of their life but that the form of exploitation to which they are subjected varies according to their age. While younger children are frequently trafficked for begging, child labour or involvement in criminal activities, teenagers mainly aged between 14 and 17 years are often trafficked for sexual exploitation. In contexts where children are considered to be sexually mature at a younger age (for example, in some Latin American or African countries), trafficking for exploitation in prostitution may affect children of 11-12 years or even younger. 1.7.2. Gender Despite evidence suggesting that boys are mainly trafficked for labour exploitation, boys may also be trafficked for sexual exploitation. Cases of boys who received money for commercial sex after moving away from home have emerged in several countries though not enough information is available to establish whether these children were trafficked or not. Rooted in myths around male roles and masculinity as well as in the mistaken perception that boy prostitution is linked exclusively to homosexuality, the widespread social denial of the sexual exploitation of boys explains not only the limited knowledge, awareness and reports of trafficking in boys for sexual purposes but also the gender biases in existing victim assistance structures and the consequent lack of support services targeted specifically at boy victims. 1.8. How are children recruited into trafficking for sexual exploitation and by whom? Child trafficking for sexual purposes begins when a child is recruited by a third person or, in some cases, when family members or children themselves approach a “recruiter” to find out how to move to another place to find better living opportunities. “A recruiter may be the person who actually exploits the child, or an intermediary who is part of a chain of people involved in the trafficking”.79 Recruitment usually takes place in the community/country of origin but may also occur during the journey or at the destination point, as it might be in the case of a child who initiates the move her/himself. Forms of recruitment of child trafficking Debt bondage, trickery, manipulation, false promises, coercion, mistrust, abuse of power from parents, lovers, women, peers, acquaintances, strangers, criminal networks and various intermediaries. The ways developed by exploiters to recruit children for sex trafficking are diverse and may involve various actors. 1.8.1. Family and other trusted people Recruitment happens in many different ways.The involvement of the family in some trafficking cases is attested by several researches. In Nigeria, for example, parents who are unable to feed and care for their children may send them to work in larger towns or to live with wealthier relatives, and trafficking gangs exploit these situations to recruit children.While a certain percentage of parents are likely to be aware of the impeding exploitation and may voluntarily place their children with traffickers or even sell them, 80 many others are not. In some South Asian countries, cases of parents or guardians who have accepted a payment in advance from a trafficker, thus putting the child into “debt bondage” for either a specific or unspecified period of time, have been frequently reported. In India, for instance, a study by Terre des Hommes in 2005, showed that most of the brothel-based Nepalese trafficked persons in prostitution entered into slavery or debt bondage on average between 14 and 16 years of age and the length of time spent in these conditions ranged from two to ten years.81 Often, there may be a relationship of trust involved with the recruiter being someone known to the victims or their families. It can be a relative, a friend, a person from the same ethnic group, a community leader, or an older peer who “has returned from being trafficked and may encourage another child to follow the same path.”82 In the context of child trafficking for sexual purposes, the involvement of women or girls previously engaged in commercial sex either in the recruitment or in another phase of the trafficking process is particularly widespread. As shown by a UNODC report recently published, “In 30% of the countries which provided information on the gender of traffickers, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers. [...]. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, females account for more than 60% of convictions for trafficking in persons.”83 79. ILO-IPEC. Combating trafficking of children for labour exploitation. A resource kit for policy-makers and practitioners. 2008. P. 13. 80. ECPAT International. Global Monitoring Report on Nigeria. 2006. PP. 12-13. 81. ECPAT International. Global Monitoring Report on Nepal. 2006. P. 11. 82. ILO-IPEC. Combating trafficking of children for labour exploitation. A resource kit for policy-makers and practitioners. 2008. P. 13. 83. UNODC. <<”Denial and Neglect Undermine the Fight against Human Trafficking”, says UNODC Director>>. Press release dated 12 February 2009. Accessed on 7 April 2009 from: CHAPTER 1 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN - A GLOBAL OVERVIEW